SOUTH WEST ONE WEST
Wadebridge Camels 30 North Petherton 15
WADEBRIDGE Camels gave their supporters the perfect Christmas present by producing arguably their best performance of the season to stun runaway leaders North Petherton.
The Somerset side travelled to Cornwall sitting nine points clear at the top of the table and with only one league defeat all campaign.
But they came up against a Camels side determined to end what has been an impressive 2012 for them in grand style, and to win with a bonus point as well was the stuff of dreams.
The Camels conjured up a recipe to destroy their visitors of which their famous supporter and ex-player, Rick Stein, would have been proud.
Camels' coach David Elston said: "It was particularly pleasing how we maintained our composure when in the opposition 22, and how we constantly varied our game and areas of attack.
"We looked a very fit team, and the work head coach Nick Yelland has put in getting the players fit enough to play the style of play we are producing is paying dividends.
"North Petherton will undoubtedly, and deservedly in my opinion, finish high in the league, but our players have ended the calendar year showing the coaches how well they can play, and how much potential they have."
Camels made an excellent start when centre Sean Johns followed up a superb high kick by fly half James Grubb to fly-hack through the defence and pick up a slippery ball to score near the posts, leaving Grubb with a simple conversion.
However, North Petherton showed just why they are top dogs with some fine play which forced Camels into giving away several penalties, one of which was knocked over the posts by full back Harry Roberts.
The visitors then added a great try by right winger Oscar Tregenna, and even though the difficult conversion was missed, they had their noses in front at 8-7, but they suffered the loss of influential fly half Jervis Manupenu to injury in the build-up to that score, and that no doubt had a telling effect on the rest of the game.
Camels skipper Sam Stone was sin-binned towards the end of the first half, but two Grubb penalties gave the hosts a 13-8 interval lead.
A try by hooker Matt Ballard extended the hosts' lead after a good drive, but Petherton responded when a long line-out throw was gathered by back rower Carl Brown to dive over, and Roberts converted to make it 18-15.
Ballard scored his second try of the game, before Stone also crossed, with Grubb converting one, to wrap up a wonderful victory.
The Camels will enjoy a break over the festive period before starting the New Year with a trip to relegation-haunted Chard on Saturday, January 5.
Wadebridge: Pengelly, Rowe (Betts), Johns, Lees, D Hawkey, J Grubb, A Collings, Treleaven, Ballard (Bazeley), Cinnamond, Lumb, J Scott (B Scott), M Grubb, Stone (capt), Gynn.
Wadebridge: Tries; Johns, Ballard (2), Stone; Cons: J Grubb (2); Pens: J Grubb (2).
North Petherton: Tries: Tregenna, Brown; Con: Roberts; Pen: Roberts.